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Album Review: Bastions - Island Living

Bastions are brutal. Their latest EP, ‘Island Living’, refuses to break with this tradition: they effectively combine the raw throat vocals of Gallows with the stand-out riffs of hardcore veterans Converge, whilst opposing the sheen on their peers' shiny production. It’s most definitely hardcore for hardcore fans.

The title track serves as a fitting introduction to the EP, as Jamie Burne screams such emotionally-driven lyrics as “You drag me down” over riff after relentless riff. The remaining two tracks reflect the first in intensity, allowing for a brief lull in the darkly epic ‘The Great Unwashed’, which sees the band slow the tempo of the EP without losing their power.

This is hardcore as it used to be: omitting the various musical fads which have come and gone over the years, which is a trick many of our British bands are guilty of using. This is not to discourage the brave experimentation of bands such as Enter Shikari, but it’s refreshing to hear a hardcore record which is so straight to the point and without the complexities of contemporaries such as Glassjaw. It’s simply a good, honest record.

The most surprising element to Bastions is that they are British. With scene leaders such as Cancer Bats hailing from North America, and the inevitable backlash suffered by Gallow’s surge of popularity, Bastions could join groups such as Lower Than Atlantis as the much needed saviours of underground British hardcore. It’s an exciting enough EP to elevate them to this level, a level which they whole-heartedly deserve to reach.

Despite its merits, ‘Island Living’ is incredibly short at only three tracks. However, the sheer intensity of this record is almost exhausting. Therefore, the prospect of a full-length LP may be a little too much for the average listener, but for a casual listener such as myself, it's the perfect dose. For British hardcore fans and new listeners alike, the UK may have found their new favourite hardcore band.


'Island Living' by Bastions is released on limited edition white vinyl on September 27th through Tangled Talk Records/Holy Roar.

Bastions on Facebook, MySpace and Big Cartel.

Alex Howick

Alter The Press!